Public safety gathering focuses on efforts to combat crime in downtown Shreveport

City leaders also discuss school safety a day before Caddo students return to campus
Published: Aug. 8, 2023 at 8:49 PM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — Shreveport leaders discussed school safety a day before Caddo students return to campus Wednesday (Aug. 9) for a new academic year.

Officials emphasized that school zone speed cameras will be activated.

[RELATED: Shreveport City Council decides how to spend fines levied by school zone speed cameras]

[RELATED: SPD reminds drivers to slow down in school zones]

They also said they feel certain that students and faculty members will have a safe school year. And they stressed the importance of calling out any situation where safety is a concern.

“Just because you may not see a police officer doesn’t mean a police officer isn’t there,” Councilman Grayson Boucher said. “So I would just say I believe our children are safe.

“I believe that if a parent sees something that looks out the ordinary or their child comes home and tells them something weird happened in school today, please report it to us.”

The public safety meeting also turned its attention to violent crime in the city.

“Anytime you have a homicide rate like the one we have in the city of Shreveport, that’s very concerning,” Boucher said.

One citizen described for officials a recent night in his neighborhood.

“Last night, gunshots were fired at my complex, inside and outside the building. And I had to get down on the floor and run away for safety purposes.”

He was one of multiple members of the community who expressed their frustration with the amount of increased violence in the city.

“I think it’s out of control to a certain extent,” Boucher said. “A lot of things are out of control that we can’t control though.”

During the meeting, particular attention was paid to downtown Shreveport, where police arrested 26 people over the weekend.

“We’ve taken an extreme zero tolerance to violations period in the downtown area,” Police Chief Wayne Smith said.

Police officers are working overtime, increasing their presence downtown during various hours, to combat violence.

“The officers, their hours have been varying from early to late. And we want the community to know that we are doing everything that we possibly can under the circumstances to make downtown just as safe as any other community,” the police chief said.

Some downtown business owners told city leaders that increasing patrols has actually helped.

“I think you heard the business owners down here saying, ‘Hey, things are better.’ So I think that we’re on the right track with the downtown area,” Boucher said. “My concern is that we keep that momentum going and we don’t lose it.”

City officials also said that they are working on more initiatives behind the scenes and that they are hoping for a positive outcome.

[RELATED: SPD arrests 26 people in downtown Shreveport over weekend]